At an upscale café in Manhattan, bouquets decorate a candlelit wooden table. Glass jars of rose water overnight oats and blueberry chia seed pudding, served family-style, sit in the center.
This isn’t a normal brunch — it’s a launch party for organic baby food delivery startup Yumi. And everything on the table is technically food for infants.
The company is pitching its products as a healthier option to store brands, which can contain high levels of sodium and sugar. A subscription service, Yumi delivers meals to customers’ doors on a weekly basis, making it more convenient and less time-consuming than putting together food at home, according to the company co-founders.
“You used to live in a town where your mom and your grandma lived, and they used to help you. But now you live far away from home, and they might not know the right [baby] food to cook anymore,” the company’s co-founder, Angela Sutherland, tells Business Insider. “We want to support you, as a mother, so you don’t have to think about those things.”
From 2010 to 2015, the organic baby food industry grew globally from $36.7 billion to $55 billion. At the same time, sales of traditional baby food have been declining since 2005, partly due to an increase in parents making meals for their babies at home. Gerber, the top-selling baby food in the US, dropped by 2% within the category in 2016, according to Euromonitor.
To keep up, legacy brands like Gerber and Beech-Nut have added organic lines with trendy ingredients like quinoa and kale in recent years.
Yumi, which launched on June 13, works like many food delivery subscriptions: Customers sign up, pay a monthly fee, and meals are brought to their doorstep. All of the products are USDA-certified organic and contain simple ingredients, Sutherland says. The service is available throughout California, and will expand more widely in the future.
Even for organic baby food, Yumi’s prices are on the high side. Depending on which of the three plans you pick, meals range from $6.07 to $8.33 each. For comparison, a 3.5-ounce pouch of Gerber’s organic veggies costs $1.25 at Walmart.
But Gerber doesn’t offer a weekly delivery service or chef-prepared, nutrient-dense meals.
To see how customers might respond to the food and prices, the company conducted a pilot test with 100 babies (and their parents) in…